DD2350 Royal Docks 2019/20 marketing, comms & community engagement

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
30 April 2019
Decision by: 
Rickardo Hyatt, Assistant Director of Housing and Interim Deputy Executive Director

Executive summary

Mayoral Decision MD2338 approved expenditure of up to £212.5m for the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone (EZ) Delivery Plan to deliver an integrated and catalytic package of projects under the five strategic objectives of Place, Connectivity, Economy, Activation and Promotion. The Mayoral Decision delegated authority to the Executive Director of Housing and Land to approve, through Director Decision forms, the income and detailed spending proposals for each project that is to be funded within the initial £212.5m expenditure budget envelope.

This Director Decision (DD) requests approval of expenditure of up to £1,450,000 throughout 2019/20 for an extensive programme of marketing, communications and engagement to help raise the profile of the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone and ensure that local people and businesses are at the heart of the area’s plans.

The investment set out in this Decision Request is entirely funded through retained business rate income and was approved by the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone Programme Board, chaired by the Mayor of Newham and the GLA’s Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development on 12 March 2019.


That the Executive Director of Housing & Land approves:

Up to £1,450,000 of revenue expenditure from the Royal Docks EZ approved budget (2019/2020) for a comprehensive programme of marketing, communications and community engagement.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The five-year Royal Docks Enterprise Zone (EZ) Delivery Plan approved in June 2018 sets out an ambitious programme of investment that will accelerate the re-development of the Royal Docks into a significant business and visitor destination. Thousands of new homes, amenities, workspaces and jobs are projected to come forward over the next five years, delivering significant benefits for local residential and business communities, and supporting the Mayor of London, Mayor of Newham and London Economic Action Partnership’s (LEAP) ambitions regarding housing delivery and economic growth.

The next 12 months (from April 2019 - April 2020) will mark an important transition with the Royal Docks team and key partners embarking on a significant programme of delivery that will physically transform the environment in the Royal Docks and begin to shift people’s experience and perception of the area. Notable milestones will be realised across all three of the Enterprise Zone developments (Royal Albert Dock, Silvertown Quays Albert Island), including the launch of the first phase of Royal Albert Dock in the spring, and there will be significant programmes of public realm and transport improvements, economic development and cultural placemaking that will each begin to catalyse and accelerate interest in the area.

This business case sets out the case for an ambitious and comprehensive approach to marketing, communications and engagement that responds to the pace and scale of change envisaged and is intended to realise the strategic objectives set out and agreed in the Royal Docks EZ Delivery Plan. These are:

• facilitating and encouraging active and inclusive participation from residential and business communities in the Royal Docks;
• raising the profile of the Royal Docks and focusing interest on the area’s regeneration and potential;
• communicating the scale, ambition, and benefits and opportunities arising from change;
• ensuring that marketing and communications activity is effectively targeted and impactful; and
• increasing investor, occupier and visitor interest in the Royal Docks to accelerate business rate income.

Outlined below are the key marketing, communications and engagement interventions which are considered a priority for 2019/20.

Destination marketing – business-to-consumer campaigns

The Royal Docks team is planning an extensive year-round cultural programme for 2019/20 that will support high quality placemaking in the Royal Docks and generate local, London-wide and international interest. The activation programme has been shaped in discussion with key stakeholders in the Royal Docks including the EZ development partners as well as local cultural and community groups and includes a wide range of art, cultural and leisure events and activities. Its focus throughout 2019/20 will be to help activate and animate new and underused sites within the Royal Docks – particularly at Royal Albert Dock, providing a lively, attractive and stimulating environment which attracts new and existing residents, businesses and visitors into the area.

The cultural placemaking programme forms a significant part of the Royal Docks team delivery programme for 2019/20 and will need to be supported by marketing campaigns aimed at attracting a large and diverse audience base - drawing footfall into the area, increasing local spend and raising awareness of the Royal Docks as a vibrant and exciting destination. A consistent marketing push will be required throughout the year to successfully promote the wide range of events and activations that will be on offer, especially the three months ‘Join the Docks’ summer campaign. Campaigns will vary in size and will include a mix of traditional and digital advertising, PR, marketing materials, social media and influencer engagement.

The Royal Docks team will procure the services of a specialist arts and events marketing agency, through an appropriate GLA/TfL framework, to help develop creative campaigns that secure the right exposure and engagement with target audiences. Paid media will be used to amplify reach as required, utilising the existing GLA contract for media planning and buying services, with Wavemaker Global Ltd.

Investment marketing – business-to-business campaigns

The Royal Docks Enterprise Zone represents a regeneration and investment opportunity on a global scale. Alongside the destination marketing activities outlined above, another key priority for the Royal Docks team throughout 2019/20 will be to ensure that there are strategic and targeted approaches to international and domestic marketing and investment attraction. To date there has been limited available intelligence on the economic purpose of the Royal Docks which has constrained our ability to be able to effectively target our marketing approach. However, a number of strategic processes will be underway in 2019/20 that will enable the Royal Docks to achieve stronger domestic and international positioning and collaboration to support inward investment.

Firstly, a detailed understanding of the economic landscape of the Royal Docks is being produced by the Royal Docks team in partnership with Newham Council. Due to be completed in June 2019, the strategy will establish an economic baseline for the Royal Docks and Newham, identifying sectoral strengths and opportunities for market growth. The strategy will propose specific economic development interventions and will articulate a realistic economic purpose for the Royal Docks. The economy strategy will provide a solid evidence base and foundation to develop strategic and targeted approaches to marketing and investment attraction. To deliver good growth in the Royal Docks we need to ensure that clear objectives are set, the right sort of investment and partnerships are pursued, that spend is targeted, and that domestic and international audiences are clearly defined. To enable us to do this effectively a two-phase period of research and strategy-to-action is required.

A previous decision DD2318 approved funding for a piece of research to be undertaken which will confirm which sectors, markets and audiences to focus on and how to shape our offering to attract them. This has included collaborating with key stakeholders such as Excel, London City Airport and development partners to scope and develop a unique Royal Docks value proposition and will be followed by a period of engagement and validation with investment decision makers. A process of proposition refinement, testing and validation with strategic partners will help to shape a realistic proposition for the Royal Docks and allow us to begin to arrange this positioning into more targeted and sector-specific messaging and campaigns.

Phase 2 will include the development and delivery of an investment marketing plan to help achieve increased visibility and market penetration. This will include the production of tailored research and marketing propositions for the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone as well as representation at suitable domestic and international trade fairs, exhibitions and events. We will proactively promote and pitch to prospective occupiers, targeting high growth sectors and investor audiences that offer the right match for attracting business and jobs into the Royal Docks. This will include exploring opportunities to create more global partnerships and collaborations, leveraging the multicultural and multinational profile of both the residential and business community in the area.

The outcomes of this activity will include the enhancement of the reputation of the Royal Docks, increased business and leisure tourism, more impactful and targeted promotion of products and services in the Royal Docks, attraction of investors and partners who can help to create quality employment opportunities in key sectors, and the location of businesses who can help to strengthen existing companies, grow local supply chains and build specialised economic clusters. The Royal Docks team will consult with TfL Procurement to identify a suitable procurement method to undertake Phase 2 activity.

Communications channels and content management

We need to communicate a complex set of messages to a very diverse audience which includes local residents, businesses, visitors, students, investors, built environment professionals, partners and the media. Having and managing the right communications channels will be essential to ensuring that we are able to effectively reach these audiences - building credibility, interest and engagement. The three elements outlined below will enable the Royal Docks team to further maximise its reach and impact:

Content management

The range of communities and stakeholders in the Royal Docks means that we need continued investment in an editorial platform to create content that is accessible, informative and targeted. With public and private sector investment in the Royal Docks and several developments at various stages of delivery, there is an enormous amount of information to communicate including the 12 month long Royal Docks consultation – a comprehensive consultation and engagement exercise. The funding will enable us to commission, publish and directly produce engaging and digestible content across multiple channels, through the GLA’s existing contract called off from the TfL place branding services framework. As a minimum, this includes:

• website content management
• social media management
• 24 x HTML newsletters and email marketing per annum
• 4 x Royal Docks newspaper per annum
• 8 x Royal Docks Guides/Brochures per annum
• photography and film commissioning
• illustration commissioning and production management

Content across all these deliverables will clearly demonstrate the activity of the Royal Docks team as well as amplifying the local stories of businesses, developers, community and voluntary groups. This will ensure that the editorial platform supports a truly diverse range of voices and helps to position the Royal Docks through authentic, credible narratives.

Website – Phase 2 development

Phase 1 of a planned two-phase website design and development process was completed in March 2019. Phase 1 required the delivery of a jointly branded Mayor of London and Mayor of Newham platform for the Royal Docks team to communicate the scale and benefits of investment in the area while also providing a platform to feature the stories and perspectives of local businesses and communities. Phase 1 has successfully delivered the following milestones:

• detailed research into users’ requirements;
• creating a new modern design that reflects positively on both Mayor of London and Mayor of Newham ambitions;
• producing content that communicates business and community stories in an accessible and compelling way;
• ensuring the website meets rigorous accessibility and usability standards; and
• clearly communicating to a public audience, the function of the Royal Docks team and Royal Docks Enterprise Zone governance arrangements i.e. LEAP oversight.

Following the successful delivery of the Phase 1 website, the priority for the Royal Docks team will be to quickly progress the delivery of Phase 2, which will further develop the capabilities of the content management system and introduce new design features and enhancements to support richer storytelling and campaigns.

Beyond communicating the work of the Royal Docks team and stakeholders, the website will need to perform a host of additional functions including handling rich web forms for upcoming funding programmes (e.g. community fund), conducting polls and surveys with users – a vital part of the year-long ‘Royal Docks conversations’ engagement programme, and introducing interactive maps to better communicate the features, developments and assets in the Royal Docks. These more ambitious features were de-prioritised for the purposes of launching a ‘starter’ website quickly - but they have been identified as Phase 2 priorities and are standard features in any modern and dynamic website.

The Phase 2 specification and the scope of work required from the web developers is being prepared in conjunction with the GLA Digital team. GLA Digital will continue to be involved in the ongoing project management and oversight and the services will be procured through the appropriate GLA frameworks.

Industry events, business engagement and sponsorship

An extensive programme of trade and industry events also needs to be prioritised throughout 2019/20 to build credibility and showcase the Royal Docks as a unique business destination. Now that the Royal Docks brand identity has been established we have an opportunity to partner with key stakeholders in the Royal Docks to curate and deliver an ambitious exhibitions and events programme (internationally, nationally, city-wide and local) to help signal the area’s transformation and the opportunity that this presents for investors, developers, occupiers, businesses and talent on the world and local stage.

Events will range from trade missions and familiarisation tours through to exhibitions, conferences and business seminars. Some of these will be designed and delivered in-house by the Royal Docks team whilst others will be external events where we secure a significant presence (either as partners, speakers, exhibitors or delegates).

The Royal Docks team will proactively seek out opportunities that will enable us to directly engage target audiences and influencers. For example, we will identity and prioritise events which offer the best opportunity for the Royal Docks to raise its profile and generate tangible leads and business e.g. major international exhibitions such as IMEX in Frankfurt (May), the DIT Trade Mission ‘Creative’ to China (May), as well as significant UK based events including London Fintech Week (May), London Tech Week (June), London Real Estate Forum (June), SIBOS (Sept) and MIPIM UK (Oct) amongst others.

A notable event in the calendar will be the Homes for Londoners conference in October. This will be held in the Royal Docks in the Crystal building. The event will be designed to reflect the Mayor of London’s theme of ‘good growth’ and will explore proposals to maximise the provision of genuinely affordable homes across London. It will offer both the public sector and the planning and development industry an opportunity to discuss developing affordable housing and ‘good growth’ in London and will be the first-ever event of its kind with around 500 senior level attendees. The Royal Docks will have a dedicated presence within the conference programme with an ambitious regeneration exhibition and architectural model which charts the story of the Royal Docks and work underway by our development partners.

The budget outlined for industry events, business engagement and sponsorship will cover all exhibitor, event production and sponsorship costs and will be realised through the appropriate procurement frameworks.

Civic Engagement and Participation

The Royal Docks team is committed to ensuring that residents and businesses can meaningfully influence, and shape plans for the area’s future. In 2018 a wide range of community engagement activities was undertaken to introduce the Royal Docks team to community groups locally and to support the development of an initial place narrative and visual identity for the area. This enabled the team to begin building positive relationships with local businesses, community and voluntary groups in the area.

However much more extensive engagement is required throughout 2019/20, with a noticeable step change in approach given the scale of the delivery programme and change envisaged. Two new community posts and one communications and liaison officer have been approved for the expanded Royal Docks team and will help to design and deliver a robust community engagement and communications strategy and programme for the Royal Docks throughout 2019/20. These posts (which were funded through MD2338) will not be filled until September however and an interim community engagement and communications resource has been appointed to help the team meet early outreach, engagement and communications priorities, which includes:

The Royal Docks Conversation - Have Your Say campaign

The commissioning and production of three significant strategies (i) Public Realm Strategy (ii) Economy Strategy and (iii) Cultural Placemaking Strategy throughout 2019 provides a unique opportunity for the Royal Docks team to ensure residents and businesses in the Royal Docks have a genuine opportunity to influence plans for the area. Working closely with the communities’ team in Newham Council, the Royal Docks Conversation campaign is envisaged as a year-long programme. It will be a highly participatory and inclusive process, so everyone has an opportunity to share their views. Early conversations with GLA Intelligence have taken place to establish how Talk London could play a role as a platform for the campaign.

We will work with established groups in the area, as well as schools and youth groups and will publicise events and activities locally so that everyone has the opportunity to respond; including options for people to pop in and talk to the team, participate online, as well as take part in events. The funding will support event programming and delivery, event material production and marketing and communications activity. It will be conceived and developed in collaboration with Newham Council to ensure that it is fully aligned with existing programmes including harnessing new approaches for participatory democracy and citizen engagement (e.g. Newham’s Better Streets consultation). The Royal Docks team will consult with TfL Procurement to identify a suitable procurement method to undertake this work.

The Royal Docks community building programme and fund

The Royal Docks Enterprise Zone Delivery plan includes an allocation to support a citizen-led regeneration programme. The concept for the programme was modelled on the existing Crowdfund London programme (developed by the GLA Regeneration and Economic Development team), which seeks to create an accessible platform and localised programme of support for communities to participate in the transformation of their neighbourhoods.

An evaluation of the Crowdfund London programme has highlighted that there have not been any projects proposed from the Royal Docks (using the Royal Docks and Beckton Opportunity Area Planning Framework (OAPF) boundary as a demarcation) despite the presence of many active local groups who have expressed a desire for more devolved decision-making and local community delivery of projects and services.

Therefore, throughout 2019/20 we propose to scope and develop the concept of a Community Building Programme and Fund and work with colleagues in Newham Council to ensure that the programme aligns with the participatory budgeting system emerging from the local Citizen Assemblies. Early conversations with Newham’s Community Neighbourhoods and Regeneration teams has highlighted that there is considerable demand for community led enterprises with the existing Participatory Budget allocation oversubscribed. Therefore 2019 will provide an opportunity for the Royal Docks team to work with Newham Council to further test and integrate approaches to supporting locally led initiatives.

A Royal Docks funding allocation is being proposed for 2019-20 and is intended to act as a matched/complementary funding offer to Newham Council’s Citizen Assembly participatory budgets and other local community project funding programmes. It will be designed to help maximise the potential of projects, leverage specialist project delivery support, and leverage funding and support from other local business stakeholders. The GLA will enter into funding agreements with local community and voluntary organisations, as appropriate.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The Royal Docks team will regularly monitor and evaluate the impact of the 2019/20 marketing, communications and engagement programme to ensure objectives set out in the Royal Docks 5 Year Delivery Plan are being met. The aims include:

• Positioning the Royal Docks and raising the profile of the area’s regeneration;
• increasing investor and occupier interest;
• collaborating with local communities to actively shape the Royal Docks;
• increasing footfall, dwell times and visitor numbers;
• increasing place satisfaction, civic pride and cohesion; and
• strengthening London’s reputation for business, innovation and culture.

Across the whole marketing and communications programme a wide range of channels, platforms, campaigns and events will be used to help raise awareness and drive engagement in the Royal Docks. Each of these will provide a wide range of data and signals to help understand and track audience interaction and behaviour. For digital channels specifically, website traffic and social engagement metrics are the industry standard for measuring success. These are very effective at demonstrating reach and engagement (e.g. website traffic, newsletter sign ups, online downloads, hashtag performance, ticket purchasing) however, in isolation, are not reliable sources of meaningful impact data or Return on Investment (e.g. attendance at events, inward investment). A monitoring and evaluation strategy for all activities in the Royal Docks EZ Delivery, which includes the 2019/20 marketing, communications and engagement programme, is currently in the process of being scoped and procured, as approved by the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone Programme Board. It will entail:

• a complete set of indicators – outputs, outcomes and KPIs – that are both appropriate and measurable;
• identifying the means (methods and tools) of collecting data, and the associated resource requirements of doing so;
• a baseline of current (Year 1) conditions; and
• a reporting dashboard for tracking impact.

Additional evaluation measures will therefore be used to help isolate the effects and impact of the Royal Docks ‘owned digital/social’ estate in driving awareness, footfall and investment. By way of example, these will include:

• exit surveys at events - to measure attendance and satisfaction;
• perception Surveys – to monitor awareness levels;
• TfL data – passengers disembarking at DLR stations;
• consultation responses – to measure community involvement; and
• stakeholder interviews – to track referrals and outbound links e.g. to developer sites.

Equality comments

Under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority, the GLA must have ‘due regard’ of the need to:

• eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation; and
• advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who have a protected characteristic and those who do not.

The Royal Docks EZ Delivery Plan projects will deliver against a range of Mayor of London policies such as the London Plan, Healthy Streets Approach, Culture Strategy, London Housing Strategy, Transport Strategy and is aligned with the Mayor’s Equalities Framework to consider the requirements of relevant equalities groups.

Impact assessments will determine whether any persons with those characteristics will be unduly impacted by the activities described in this business plan, and the course of action in order to mitigate any impacts.

Marketing, communications and engagement activity will reach out to and engage with a wide and diverse range of audiences, which includes local communities, visitors, investors, occupiers, businesses, the media as well as collaborators and stakeholders. Content will be accessible and inclusive and will draw in surrounding communities into the evolving story of the Royal Docks, including work with local schools and community groups to help deliver on Newham Council’s Convergence objectives. Equalities considerations will also be taken into account by the GLA in connection with all work procured, with the GLA Equalities Officer consulted to help ensure approaches are inclusive and accessible. All recruitment will fully comply with the Equality Act 2010 and fulfil the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty as set out in the section 149(1) of the Equality Act 2010.

Other considerations

The Royal Docks EZ Delivery Plan projects will deliver against a range of Mayor of London policies such as the London Plan, Healthy Streets Approach, Culture Strategy, London Housing Strategy, Transport Strategy, All of Us: The Mayor’s Strategy for Social Integration, Economic Development Strategy for London, Good Growth, and is aligned with the Mayor’s Equalities Framework to consider the requirements of relevant equalities groups.


Key stakeholders including Mayor of London development partners and officers at both the London Borough of Newham and GLA have been consulted on the marketing, communications and engagement specifications and outputs required through this DD.


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The overall objective of this approval is to accelerate and maximise the regeneration of the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone and ensure that local people and businesses are at the centre of plans for the area.

a) Key risks and issues


Risk Description


Reputational risk to the Mayor of London and Mayor of Newham of marketing, communications and engagement activity not delivering on stated objectives.

Robust project management arrangements have been established with quarterly review meetings scheduled with marketing, communications, creative and digital teams from across the Greater London Authority (GLA), Local Economic Action Partnership (LEAP) and Newham Council to plan for and review activity. A quarterly monitoring report is also produced for the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone Programme Board setting out the impact of marketing, communications and engagement activity.

Reputational risk to the Mayor of London and Mayor of Newham of investment in marketing and communications activity.

All press and communications activity (both reactive and proactive) will be cleared through the GLA press office, with media contingency plans established as appropriate for all activities described. The Royal Docks website and social media channels will also feature authentic stories of local businesses, developers and community organisations. These platforms will be promoted as communications tools, ensuring that local residents and businesses are informed about and able to influence the regeneration of the Royal Docks.

Limited engagement and buy-in from developers and other stakeholders in the Royal Docks leading to confused and inconsistent marketing, communications and engagement activity.

A quarterly steering group which brings together key personnel from across developers and other stakeholder organisations to ensure robust partnership working and forward planning, particularly around marketing campaign development and delivery.

Limited engagement from local residential and business communities in the Royal Docks in helping to shape the future of the Royal Docks.

A Good Practice Guide to engagement is being developed in consultation with the London Borough of Newham’s Economic Development, Communications and Community Neighbourhood’s team to ensure that communications and engagement activity with local communities is accessible and inclusive.  The GLA Digital team are advising on the second phase of the Royal Docks website to ensure that it is a fully accessible and interactive platform.

Lack of attendance and footfall at Royal Docks supported events and activities.


Work closely with marketing and communications colleagues in the GLA and Newham Council to ensure marketing campaigns are designed and delivered to a high standard with clear aims and objectives agreed and regular monitoring of campaign success and impact.

Lack of occupier or business interest in the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone development sites.

High Level Steering Group meetings (bi monthly) with developers and their third parties, as appropriate, to ensure that engagement, sales and leasing and marketing plans meet our requirements. 


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​It is not considered that any further impact assessment is required for this specific decision.

Financial comments

This decision requests approval for up to £1,450,000 revenue expenditure to fund the 2019/20 marketing, communication and community engagement programme. This expenditure will be funded from within the £212.5 million approved delivery plan budget confirmed in MD2338. These projects were endorsed by the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone Programme Board on 12 March 2019.

Activity table



DD approved

April 2019

Destination Marketing

- Market opportunity advertised
- Appointment of creative marketing agency
- Campaign planning and development
- Campaign delivery and evaluation

April/May 2019
April/May 2019
May 2019 onwards

Investment Marketing
- Confirm Strategic Partnership with London and Partners 
- Scope and develop investment promotion strategy
- Develop and deliver domestic and international marketing campaigns

- Evaluation and impact report


April 2019

June/July 2019

August 2019 onwards
April 2020

Channels and Content
- Commission editorial, digital, design and print services
- Communications channels & content development/management
- Evaluation and impact report

April 2019

Trade and Industry Events, Business Engagement and Sponsorship
- Confirm Royal Docks events and exhibitions calendar for 2019/20
- Confirm and commission delivery partners, where applicable
- Support event development and delivery
- Evaluation report

April/May 2019
April/May 2019


April 2020

Civic Engagement and Community Building Fund
- Confirm ‘Royal Docks Conversation’ approach and aims
- Design and deliver wide ranging programme of engagement
- Evaluation and impact report

April 2019
April 2020

Delivery End Date:

March 2020

Project Closure

March 2020

Share this page